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The Comedy of Terrors

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The Comedy of Terrors (1963), starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Joyce Jameson
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The Comedy of Terrors (1963), starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Joyce Jameson

Synopsis of The Comedy of Terrors

The Comedy of Terrors is a hilarious horror spoof.  A funeral director, who is in arrears on his rent, aggressively pursues customers to bolster his business …  And the fact that they haven’t died yet doesn’t bother him at all!

Review of The Comedy of Terrors

The Comedy of Terrors is a dark comedy.  A hilarious, funny, rolling in the aisles comedy!  If you haven’t guessed yet, I highly recommend it.

The comedy comes from this very talented cast.  Everyone gives a funny, hilarious performance.  I can’t point to a single person as “the funniest” – they all shine.  And Peter Lorre and Vincent Price’s teamwork is wonderful.  They could easily have been a comedy team if they’d wanted to.

The cast of characters in The Comedy of Terrors

  • Waldo Trumbull (Vincent PriceThe Fly).  Waldo is many things.  An undertaker, with no (paying) clientele.  An alcoholic, who ignores and insults his beautiful wife.  A man who keeps threatening to poison his father-in-law (from whom he inherited the business).  Just to annoy his wife.  Doesn’t sound funny, does he?  But Vincent Price’s performance is absolutely hilarious!
  • Felix Gillie (Peter LorreCasablanca).  Waldo’s assistant, whom Waldo bullies constantly.  Felix has a criminal record; an inept criminal, but Waldo never lets him forget it.  And Felix is hopelessly in love with Waldo’s lovely wife.  “The voice of an angel!”  Peter Lorre absolutely shines here.
  • Amaryllis Trumbull (Joyce JamesonTales of Terror).  Waldo’s lovely, neglected wife.  A woman who can’t sing to save her life – but Felix hears beautiful music.  Joyce Jameson does an excellent job in this comedy.  Her slightly senile father is …
  • Amos Hinchley (Boris KarloffThe Black Room).  The slightly-senile father of Amaryllis, who’s slightly deaf as well.  The original owner of the funeral parlor, who doesn’t realize what his son-in-law is doing.  Boris Karloff gives a great comedy performance here, even as a secondary character.  He could have had a successful career in comedy if he’d wanted to.
  • John F. Black (Basil Rathbone, Son of Frankenstein).  The landlord of the funeral parlor.  A man who hasn’t been paid for a year, and is about to evict the Trumbulls.  A man who likes to quote Shakespeare.  And, he suffers from cataleptic fits, that makes it look like he’s dead.  It’s absolutely hilarious when Trumbull and Gillie keep trying to bury him.  And he keeps getting back up!

Secondary characters

  • Cemetery Keeper (Joe E. BrownAlibi Ike).  A minor role that Joe E. Brown is hilarious at.  He does his trademark loud yell when he hears John Black … in his tomb!
  • Mrs. Phipps (Beverly Powers, I’ll Take Sweden).  The beautiful young widow … Who skips town with all of her husband’s money, depriving Trumbull of needed money!  And after Trumbull goes to the effort of sending the bumbling Mr. Gillie to murder him!  Bumbling, thankfully.

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